Outcomes framework aligns Strategy with national priorities

Annette Pyle, Scottish Government Care, Support and Rights Division, recently reframed the Scottish Strategy for Autism into four outcomes. These outcomes align with the four strategy goals. There is no change in the Strategy’s priorities; it simply reframes the Strategy to align it with current national Scottish Government priorities. It also provides a rationale on what work is taking place and why. It is an approach framework; a way to look at what has been accomplished so far and what the priorities are going forward.

To reflect this new approach, we have added each Working Group’s outcome in the key messages section of this newsletter. To view the full outcomes and priorities document, which contains much more detail, visit the Scottish Strategy for Autism website. The document is currently under revision after discussions at three of the working group meetings. Once updated, it will be posted on the Scottish Strategy for Autism website.

Key Messages

Governance Group

23 October - As the Scottish Strategy for Autism nears the end of its fourth year, the Strategy has been reframed into outcomes. This will align the Strategy with other national priorities. The Strategy’s Fourth Annual Conference will take place on December 8 at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Invitations will be sent out the last week of October.

The Autism Innovation and Development Fund applications are still under review due to the high number received. The Scottish Government expects to work with Inspiring Scotland, who will partner with funded projects to help them identify and share good practice.

The One Stop Shops across Scotland continue to work towards sustainable funding, and are partnering with Julie Haslett, Joint Improvement Team, to assure that funding is secured.

The group heard about key events taking place, including the September 25 National Autism Coordination Project’s third business meeting, which focused on transitions. Working Group 2 put together the programme for the day. They also heard about the Employment Event held on October 5, which was also saw the launch of a new employment web resource.

The group heard an update on the Autism Trainer Award and the progress of its pilot cohort, made up of representatives of 18 local authorities.


Working Group 1

Outcome 1 - A Healthy Life: People with autism enjoy the highest attainable standard of living, health and family life and have timely access to diagnostic assessment and integrated support services.

24 August - Working Group 1 reviewed the new group strategy priority and outcome, which will guide future work. With this in mind, the group reviewed the work plan and updated several items. The group plans to invite Julie Haslett, Scottish Government Joint Improvement Team, to the next meeting. She will be asked to give a report on her work on improving the sustainability of the One Stop Shops. The group has also requested a report on the progress of Tommy Mackay’s report on microsegmentation. The group would also like to hear more about self-directed support and will consider what specific questions they have before inviting someone to present at a future meeting.


Working Group 2

Outcome 4 - Active Citizenship: People with autism are able to participate in all aspects of community and society by successfully transitioning from school into meaningful educational or employment opportunities.

1 July – Working Group 2’s draft work plan was submitted to the Governance Group at their June meeting and was well-received. Group 2 has now identified first steps to improve young adult transitions and how to action them as part of their work plan. These address the themes identified during their ‘Digging Deeper’ road show events.  They are: Eligibility and Unmet Need, Options and Choices, Resources and Logistics, Processes, Accountability, Information and Training.

The group has drafted an agenda for the next Autism Strategy Lead Officers’ Collaborative event, to take place in late September in Glasgow. This will focus on transitions. The group will work closely with the National Autism Coordination Project team on finalising the programme and preparing for the event.

2 September - Following information gathering and consultation, including the ‘Digging Deeper’ events, Working Group 2 has agreed initial actions to support improved transitions for young people with autism.  The group will be working with the Scottish Government to establish an improved picture of the numbers of young people with autism who receive post-school support. The group will be working with the National Autism Coordination Project to organise a transitions event for lead officers. The group is seeking examples of peer support networks for parents and carers. The group is also seeking opportunities to work with the Scottish Government and Governance group to review how policy and legislation that impacts on transitions can be joined up and clarified.


Working Group 3

Outcome 2 - Choice and Control: People with autism are treated with dignity and respect and services are able to identify their needs and are responsive to meet those needs.

24 June - Working Group 3 heard an update from a member of the Scottish Autism Research Group. SARG has recently been revitalized, holding an event in February 2015 and planning another for February 2016. They are also involved with Autistica-funded projects to build cohorts of children and adults with autism and their families for participation in autism research.

The Group remains keen to see the outcomes from the Autism Development Fund projects; however, the evaluation of these projects is reliant on final reports and evaluations being completed by the project organisations and for these to be analysed to identify good practice. Timing is tight for this to be completed before the Scottish Strategy for Autism 4th Annual Conference, tentatively scheduled for November 2015. The group has offered to support the evaluation by creating a framework, and awaits word from the Scottish Government (SG) on whether they should undertake this work.

[Post meeting note (AP): Following SG discussions, an evaluation framework will not be developed but funded projects which have had good outcomes will be highlighted and showcased at the annual conference.]

The Group will be creating an online knowledge network, in the form of a forum hosted on the Autism Network Scotland website. It will be called the “Sharing Practice Network” and development work is continuing. The Group intends to formally launch the network at the November Conference.

The Action on Autism Research Series Report is due to be completed at the end of summer and presented at the next Governance Group meeting.

Note: Group 3 Chair Jane Neil-MacLachlan stepped down in August, and we are very appreciative of her leadership and service.


Working Group 4

Outcome 3 - Independence: People with autism are able to live independently in the community with equal access to all aspects of society. Services have the capacity and awareness to ensure that people are met with recognition and understanding.

31 August - The group heard an update from Janine Robinson, NHS Education for Scotland, who reported that an updated web resource for primary care physicians has been completed and will be online soon. The group will be taking a look at training levels in diagnostic facilities across Scotland, as well as at data from a recent ADOS project. The group is also keen to know more about autism in teacher training, and will be gathering data from a number of sources related to this. The group has been asked to gather information on autism alert cards available in their areas and forward this information to Tracy Wenzl for collation.